Friday, November 9, 2018

Beads. Blind spots. Adults

RantWoman has been sitting with meditations the nature of vocal ministry and Friends’ expectationws of same, including feedback RantWoman has heard. RantWoman has also been considering the nature of ministry during the two weeks of the Brett Kavanagh confirmation process. The following is RantWoman’s experience. Others’ mileage may vary. In fact, far from being distressed by others’ points of view about a given week’s worship, RantWoman is sometimes very grateful and intrigued to see something from a different perspective.


Week 1.

Settle into worship. Wonder how many people in the room are triggered out of their minds. Settle.


Nature Just Wow Friend. male: “I was out in the woods and looked up at the stars. Just Wow!”


Glad I Am Here Friend, who has another nom de blog: long windy maybe dream sequence message making RantWoman wonder repeatedly where his message is headed. Then winding up, I come into a circle and isn’t it wonderful we are all here?”


(Um, Guys, there is a room full of women who, I am guessing, would be thrilled to hear the voices of guys who get it, but okay…)


More silence.


Three messages from women: as RantWoman heard them


--“small shifts in how we view situations can make a big difference.”


--Small things add up to big things.


(Somewhere RantWoman fell asleep briefly. Sigh)


--RantWoman: a message about 5 beads to string together. RamtWoman now has no memory of exactly what the 5 beads were but does recall that they would not obviously fit together and at least one of them contained allusions to World Events.


Close worship.


During joys and concerns, Young Adult Friend:

“Does anyone know where I can go to express Grief and Rage?”


Feedback to RantWoman:


Friend 1: Thank you for the 5 beads.


Friend 2, the next day: “I don’t like your 5 beads.”


RantWoman to herself: ” You don’t like? Take it up with God!  Or as Buddhist Friends would say, what is that reaction trying to teach you? “ RantWoman is grateful for the conversation that followed even though things got pretty testy on both sides. RantWoman invites Friend of the Small Changes in Outlook above to meditate upon her views of RantWoman’s blog with that thought in mind.


The following week, definitely not saving Grief and Rage for Joys and Concerns


(All meeting long, RantWoman meditations about Ivy League university students, drunken irresponsible behavior, behavior, the academic provenance of Supreme Court judges. For the record, RantWoman and3 sitting judges all attended the same university and RantWoman’s time on campus overlapped with the career of one of them.)


First out of the block, Grief and Rage. RantWoman apologizes for not being able to be more specific but it was stirring and real.


Message about raising better boys and smarter girls


Message about local politician dislodged due to allegations of a drunken groping of some kind.


(RantWoman thinks there were some other messages but in her self-absorbed fog has wiped them from accessible memory.)


Silence: the hour is ending but the children have not yet joined adult worship.


RantWoman rises to speak. RantWoman speaks of:


--underage drinking among overprivileged youth and among youth in general.


--“A sense of I do not know…”  about many things, whether things will be as bad as they are being painted…

--the academic provenance of the Supreme court, geographic diversity or lack thereof on the Supreme  Court, college political activism while one Justice was in the student government. 


--the evolution of many things to do with women’s representation in academia


--bomb threats when organizing events about the Middle east and an implied thought that Quakers taking an hour and a half to figure out how to pray seemed preferable.


Yes, OF COURSE it was going to be a crap shoot to see whether it would all hang together, but Fear Not! God intervened?


RantWoman had heard kid noise but then not heard it. That is the children are doing a nice job of gathering in quiet before they enter worship. Okay, some of them get squirmy as soon as they enter but this time, Interrupting Friend growled at RantWoman that he saw the adult across the room checking while children were waiting.


Adult? RantWoman has no idea that an adult checks because she cannot see across the room.


Furthermore, if the point of asking children to wait is not to interrupt messages, RantWoman felt clear to tell Interrupting Friend  in email while asking others in email to uphold the exchange, that she considered his interruption RUDE. RantWoman also asked whether the problem was that he did not like or understand the message.


Interrupting Friend assured RantWoman he had a message from God. RantWoman is not in a position to evaluate. If a Friend says the message they receive is from God, RantWoman, unlike someone else in her email stream,would never presume to disagree. God appearing RUDE is not out of the realm of possibility for RantWoman and RantWoman also recalls that the faith tradition was founded by someone known for capacity in others’ churches to be RUDE for hours at a time.


Back to the Children.


Another Friend chimed in that waiting to enter was a pain. Sorry. RantWoman is an oldest child. Children get to wait sometimes. Cope!


Then God sent a message to RantWoman, “WAIT JUST A MINUTE!”


Is RantWoman the only person it is not RUDE to interrupt????


It is not rude to interrupt RantWoman because:


--one does not like or understand the message, a possible interpretation still stuck in RantWoman’s head?


--because our children want to enter…?


What the hell kind of example does THAT set for children?


RantWoman was a nerdy kid. RantWoman liked the part in the New Testament about “let the children come” because adults were often much more interesting than other children. This includes going to worship, though that also came with psychodrama.


RantWoman likes Quakers because of ASKING children about their experiences and taking their experience seriously.  RantWoman wants to know children might be wanting to enter even if she is speaking. RantWoman is interested in knowing whether kids think yet about offering messages.


 RantWoman does not want to undo months of work about learning to enter worship gently.  RantWoman is not clear there should be different rules for RantWoman than for other people. RantWoman generally does find interruptions RUDE and the process of being faithful to a message is challenging enough without interruptions. But RantWoman would like the possibility of a way to stop, breathe, invite the children to enter and then resume the message.


And right now RantWoman has no freaking idea how to accomplish this. RantWoman for many reasons is not automatically easy with phone conversations.


A key point of contact has TOLD RantWoman that all of RantWoman’s email goes to spam. RantWoman’s Excessively Plain English to Quakerese filter melts about this point, but it comes on the heels of over a year of colossally missing the point about the accessibility aspects of conference calls, alternately demanding to meet in person and then not being able to find time in a busy schedule and then multiple other fiascoes including a terminology flipout documented somewhere in these here hallowed electronic emanations.


In other words, there is room for many of us to…g.g.grow!


For now, please just hold this whole circus in the Light.



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